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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with the Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Jerusalem on Friday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
Warning IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi that through misleading the world with “false information and lies,” Bennett stated that Iran has been continually working to develop a nuclear weapon, a statement from the PM’s office read.
The Israeli leader underscored the need to marshal the international community to confront Iran and do everything possible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
“Bennett made it clear that while Israel prefers diplomacy in order to deny Iran the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, it reserves the right to self-defense and to take action against Iran in order to block its nuclear program should the international community not succeed in the relevant timeframe,” the statement continued.
Bennett’s alarms come as efforts to revive the 2015 US led nuclear deal with Iran have fallen through. Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal entailed the lifting of the majority of sanctions against Iran in turn for limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.
Negotiations to revive the deal failed in March after the US shot down Iran’s stipulation that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be removed from the US terrorism blacklist, the Times of Israel reports.
“Earlier this week, the Israeli prime minister accused Iran of stealing classified documents from the IAEA and using them to deceive international inspectors nearly two decades ago. He released what he said were some of the documents in question. Iran has dismissed the allegations as lies,” the Times of Israel continued.
The IAEA chief’s visit followed the UN agency’s May 30 statement that it still has questions that were “not clarified” in regard to nuclear material found at three undeclared Iranian sites.
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In a report published earlier this week, the IAEA estimated that Iran currently maintains 18 times the limit of enriched uranium agreed on in the JCPOA.
Israel has been a strong opponent of the JCPOA and strongly supported President Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018.
“Both American and Israeli officials have assessed that Iran now needs only a few weeks to amass enough fissile material for a bomb, should it choose to make one, though it would need additional time to assemble the device’s other components,” the Times of Israel writes.
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